As our players paraded the European Cup around the Luzhniki Stadium, our fans sang song after song about our success. With another trophy to our name, one of our chants was updated. “We’ve won it three times, we’ve won it three tiiiiiiimes, without killing anyone, we’ve won it three times.”
This is a chant I’ve seen face criticism over the years, with Liverpool fans likening it to their sick chants about Munich. The opinion that the two are comparable comes from ignorance or being misinformed.
Liverpool played Juventus in the 1985 European Cup final, and the Heysel stadium was an inappropriate ground to hold such a fixture. Crumbling and old, as many grounds were then.
Liverpool fans crossed the fence which separated the two sets of fans and charged. The Juve fans were forced to retreat and under their pressure of getting away, a wall collapsed. This lead to the deaths of 39 as well as injury to a further 600 Italians.
All English teams were banned from European competition for five years because of the behaviour of Liverpool fans, with their club receiving an additional years ban.
If United fans were to sing songs mocking those fans who died, like Liverpool fans singing about the players who died in Munich, then the “without killing anyone” chant would be rightly called sick. However, that’s not the case.
Liverpool chairman, John Smith, told reporters that he believed Chelsea fans to be at fault. Red and White Kop produced articles about the incident, referring to Smith’s actions.
John Smith had told reporters that he believed the trouble to be the fault of ‘Chelsea fans’ – it was nonsense, clutching at straws. There had been fans of other clubs there, there always is in major cup finals, but not in any significant numbers.
Liverpool continued to distance themselves from Heysel, refusing to apologise, placing blame anywhere but on themselves. It was only 20 years after the incident, when the clubs were drawn against each other, that any recognition was given.
Liverpool presented a banner of ‘friendship’ to the Italian club, which listed the names of the 39 Juve supporters that died at Heysel. This was met with jeers and whistles, the away support turning their backs on Liverpool’s gesture.
In the return leg, trouble broke out, with fans of both sides throwing missiles at each other. Juventus fans held up banners to remind the Liverpool fans of what they’d done, ensuring they knew there was never going to be ‘friendship’ between these clubs.
So, is the song we sing about not killing anyone poking fun at those Juventus fans who died? Is it mocking the dead? Is it fuck. It’s reminding those scum bags of what they did, after they’ve fought long and hard to wash their hands of it, blaming it on bloody Chelsea supporters!
Well, like homosexuals have reclaimed the term ‘queer’ and black people have reclaimed ‘nigger’, it seems that now Liverpool fans now refer to themselves as ‘murderers’.
As the dippers beat Everton in the Merseyside derby a couple of weeks ago, the away fans were heard singing “2-0 to the murderers”. Whilst some sections of Liverpool fans have supported it as an ‘ironic chant’, there will be plenty more who are sickened, and probably, totally embarrassed by their fans. Let’s not forget this is a club that tried to shift the blame of Heysel all together, so to adopt the name “murderers” is hardly in keeping with the angelic picture they’d like to see painted of themselves. At Heysel, it was Chelsea’s fault, not the Liverpool fans who charged the fence; at Hillsborough it was the police’s fault for not opening the gate, not the hordes of fans who climbed over gates without tickets; and to a lesser extent, following their recent European Cup final shenanigans, it was UEFA’s fault for hosting the game where they did (clearly learning from the mistakes of Hillsborough!!), not the fans who stole tickets from others, produced fakes, or forced their way in ticketless. Although, there’s no real need to go down that path.
Whilst not one of them, I’m not ignorant enough to believe that there aren’t United fans who sing about Hillsborough and Michael Shields. They’re not chants you hear inside the ground, but in crowded boozers, you’ll hear them on the day the dippers come to down. I’m not writing this article claiming United fans are innocent. All teams have sections who behave in a way you wouldn’t want them to, as the recent incident between Spurs and Portsmouth proves, however, I don’t feel any shame for the “without killing anyone” chant. It isn’t about winding up fans over deaths they feel hurt for, their own being taken away prematurely (like Munich and Hillsborough chants are), rather exposing our hated rivals as the scum bags they are, making them face up to their shameful past.
It was reported this week by Oliver Kay in The Times that United players sung this chant on the pitch following our win in Moscow, yet my reaction wasn’t one shared by many. I remember when a tabloid showed a video of United players singing all our songs after winning the title in 2007 and I loved it. It was great to see how many of the songs the lads had picked up and to watch them drinking away, singing like reds in pubs all over Manchester, felt good to see. I felt no differently after learning they sang the “without killing anyone” chant on the night we made it three times.
Kay made a big song and dance about it though.
I don’t find the “murderers” chant acceptable. I don’t find “Without killing anyone, we’ve won it three times” acceptable (and that, unlikely as it may sound, was actually sung by the United players on the pitch at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow in May).
Now, if you perceive this chant to be one mocking the dead, then I’d understand the outrage. If Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard were singing about Munich after a game, I’d be absolutely livid. If Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville were singing about Hillsborough after a game, I’d be embarrassed and ashamed. But singing about Liverpool fans being scum bags, whose violent behaviour lead to the deaths of 39 people, is not something I condemn, particularly when you consider the majority of players who were singing it probably had no idea what it was about, rather just wanted to sing about winning the European Cup.
As for the dippers, the fact that they now refer to themselves as ‘murderers’ only makes the chant more acceptable. If we were to refer to ourselves as ‘Munichs’, the name primarily used by City fans, then what could we possibly complain about when they did their very best aeroplane impressions next time they come to Old Trafford (when their “There’s only one Frank Swift” chant, which made its first, and probably last, appearance on the Munich memorial match, will be forgotten).
On the rare occasion that Liverpool fans don’t sing about Munich when the teams meet, there will often be a chorus of “Where’s your famous Munich song?”. Unlike the scousers, who are laughing off the accusations of their murderous fans, we are exposing them, again, as scum bags, who mock innocent people who have died. It’s as if to say, “not going to poke fun at those 23 people who died today, eh scum bags?”. Kay compared this chant to scousers reclaiming the title of ‘murderers’. Again, he is wrong.
I have often wondered what Sir Bobby Charlton thinks when he hears United fans at Anfield asking “Where’s your famous Munich song?” I don’t find “Where’s your famous Munich song?” acceptable.
There are some chants we will join in with, which are intended to wind us up. “Who the fuck are Man United?” is a song we cheer, before singing it back at our opposition. Who the fuck are we? Who the fuck do you think we are? The Champions of England and the Champions of Europe, so fuck you. The opposition fans won’t make the mistake of singing that song again that day!
Kay would only be correct in his comparison if we reclaimed the name ‘Munichs’ and sang their Munch songs, which we would never do.
Regardless, we’ll get branded scum for singing “without killing anyone”. On a football forum I was told I was putting “spin” in my defence of the chant. However, for anyone who gives more than five seconds thought to it will be able to see there is nothing ‘scum-like’ in us singing it. Bad taste? Yeh possibly, but had the dippers not attempted to rid themselves of all blame for so long, there’d be no need for the chant. Don’t riot and kill people and don’t blame it on someone else. Simple. If you do both those things, then you deserve a chant or two to highlight the scum of your past.